Matt Ichpia reportedly bought the Phoenix Suns and Mercury in a record $4 billion sale

Mortgage executive Matt Ichpia has agreed in principle to buy the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury from embattled owner Robert Sarver for $4 billion, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

This is the first step in a process that is expected to take several weeks to complete, according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Spain nor the Suns have disclosed the agreement publicly.

ESPN first reported on the agreement between Sarver and Ishbia — who is the chairman, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, which bills itself as the largest mortgage lender in the country. Forbes recently listed Ishpiya’s net worth at $5.1 billion.

Eshpia, a former Michigan State player and member of the Spartans’ NCAA championship team in 2000, will be in the process of being screened by the NBA. Once that process is complete, the NBA Board of Governors will have to approve the sale. The council is not scheduled to meet again until March, although it may convene virtually if the audit is successfully completed in advance.

If the sale closes at $4 billion, it would be the largest purchase in NBA history. Joe Tsai bought the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays for $3.3 billion in 2019, and Tillman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017.

The only NBA franchise known to have sold for $2 billion or more was the Los Angeles Clippers, when Steve Ballmer acquired that team in 2014.

“I had a great call with fellow Spartans Matt Ichpeia congratulating him on his purchase of the Phoenix Suns,” Michigan State alumnus Magic Johnson said. chirp Tuesday. “He’s going to do great things not just for the Suns organization, but for the entire league. All 29 other NBA teams better watch out because Matt is a winner!”

Ishbia is built around aspects of the team, and he often talks about the lessons he learned while playing with Tom Izzo and with the Mateen Cleaves at Michigan State. His company even has an indoor basketball program with a full gym on site.

“It’s not that complicated,” Ichpeia said recently on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel for a profile, and discussed his strategy with the people. “Get the best people to join your team, just like in sports. Train them, coach them to be the best version of themselves, like Ezo used to do with us. Then treat them so good they never want to leave.”

Matt Eshpia, left, was a former Michigan State basketball player and member of the Spartans’ NCAA Championship team in 2000. Photo: Doug Bensinger/Getty Images

Justin Eshpia, brother of Matt Eshpia, is also expected to be a prominent investor in the sale and will be part of the new ownership group, the person told The Associated Press.

The NBA suspended Sarver in September for a year, in addition to fining him $10 million, after an investigation found that he engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational shortcomings.”

The league’s report findings came nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist and misogynistic incidents during his nearly two-decade tenure in overseeing the franchise.

Shortly thereafter, Sarver announced that he was looking to sell the Suns and Mercury.

Sarver bought the Suns in 2004 for $401 million – then an NBA record, and nearly 10 times less than the sale price Ishpea is willing to pay.

Mentioned before as a potential buyer for pro-franchises, Ishbia is a prominent grantor in Michigan. He helped fund the $95 million deal the Spartans awarded to head football coach Mel Tucker last year. He played in 48 games for Izzo during his time as a foot guard at East Lansing.

Ishpia in November confirmed to the Associated Press his interest in buying the NFL’s Washington Chiefs after owners Dan and Tanya Snyder hired a firm to scout potential deals. It was not immediately clear if the Suns purchase would take him out of the process with the leaders.

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